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Not every person who can afford a Ferrari wants to blaze down the road in one. Some people want a more understated ride. Whether your wealth is real or hypothetical, which brand makes the nicest cars that don’t scream, “I’m driving something expensive”? One Reddit user posed that question. And the consensus is Volvo. Here’s why.

Volvo makes the nicest cars that don’t scream, ‘I’m driving something expensive’

2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD
2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD in Denim Blue | Volvo Car Corporation

Earlier this year, one Reddit user posed the intriguing question, “What’s the nicest vehicle you could buy that doesn’t scream, ‘I’m driving something expensive’?” The post has racked up more than 1,500 comments as of this writing. And the most popular answer, with over 1,600 up-votes, is “loaded-up Volvos are a favorite of the stealth-wealth crowd.”

Another Redditor summed up Volvo cars’ “stealth-wealth” appeal thus: “They’re super-plush, some specs are really quick, and [they’re] just generally nice cars. They’re highly forgettable, though. Nobody looks twice at them. If I had to describe Volvos in two words, it would be ‘sensible’ and ‘vanilla.'”

Volvo considers itself a premium brand, not a luxury carmaker

Though the brand fits the bill for high-end but not showy vehicles, Volvo doesn’t consider itself a luxury brand. Instead, the company has a history based on practicality. So, it seems only fitting that Volvo grew from humble roots: the Swedish ball-bearing firm Svenska Kullagerfabriken. The name “Volvo” comes from the Latin phrase for “I roll,” a nod to ball bearings.

The automaker produced its first car in 1927 and soon became an independent company. Volvo debuted the PV 654 in 1933, but its next luxury car didn’t arrive until the PV 164 in 1968. Meanwhile, the company continued making more practical vehicles. Volvo’s logo, which comprises the Swedish symbol for iron, even reflects the brand’s sensible reputation for strength and reliability.

Ford bought Volvo in 1999 and sold it to the Chinese company Geely in 2010. Today’s Volvo models are known for high-end qualities such as a quiet ride, comfortable interiors, and cutting-edge tech and safety systems. Still, the company doesn’t call itself a luxury brand.

The 2023 Volvo lineup at a glance

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge
2023 Volvo C40 Recharge in Silver Dawn | Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo announced its 2023 lineup in July. All models offer a mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or fully electric powertrain.

The company sells five crossover SUVs for the latest model year. In decreasing size, they are the Volvo EX90, XC90, XC60, XC40, and C40. The brand-new Volvo EX90 is all-electric and available to reserve. The XC90 is gas or hybrid and starts at $56,000. It provides three rows of seating. The XC60 is gas or hybrid and starts at 43,450. The XC40 is gas or electric and starts at 36,350. And the C40 is fully electric and starts at $55,300.

In addition, Volvo has two sedans for 2023: the S90 and the S60. Both are available with a gas or PHEV powertrain. The S90 starts at $57,000, and the S60 starts at $41,300.


2023 Volvo SUVs: A Guide to the Luxury Brand’s Latest Crossovers

Also, there are three 2023 Volvo wagons. The V90 Cross Country is gas-powered and starts at $58,450. The V60 has a hybrid powertrain and starts at $70,550. And the V60 Cross Country is gas-powered and starts at $48,800. The V90 has more rear-seat legroom than the V60 but less cargo space. The Cross Country versions provide rear air suspension, a light off-roading option, and hill descent control.

With its reputation for subdued luxury, Volvo offers various models for consumers looking for an understated driving experience and what the brand calls “Scandinavian simplicity.”